Adolph Reed

LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Mon Oct 30 19:23:09 MST 1995

I don't want to take up any more band width than has already been done with
this sorry story. I think Reed's own intervention, in which he is the sole
soul fighting for truth and justice and intellectual integrity and in which
every other white and black left intellectual in sight possesses not a
modicum of these virtues, tell a great deal more than any words out of my
mouth would. I would also point out for those who want to test the veracity
of Reed's account of his role at Yale, or just to engage a very interesting
book, that a section of Gerry Watts' dissertation on African-American
intellectuals has been published by University of North Carolina Press -- it
is entitled Heroism and the Black Intellectual: Ralph Ellison, Politics and
Afro-American Intellectual Life. And for the particularly diligent, I
recommend going back, reading the piece in the Village Voice, and checking
out the characterization of every prominent African-American left
intellectual, from Gates to West, in it. There is not a single word of
criticism of their ideas contained therein; the entire diatribe is dedicated
to an attack on their public role and prominence. 

I might add, since this is being presented by Doug as simply a little
acid-tongued iconoclasm with occasional rhetorical overkill, that there is a
need for vigorous intellectual exchanges on "race matters" among
African-American and other left intellectuals, and that there are some rather
healthy and vibrant models for how to do so without being envious,
self-righteous and destructive. Paul Gilroy's _The Black Atlantic_, for
example, criticizes some of Cornel West's and Skip Gates' ideas in a way that
can only move the debate and our understanding forward. But why do that when
the Internet gives us complete freedom to call our opponents pricks and to
talk about their lack of testicles?

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